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Interact with colourful characters in new reality experience
Family visitors to the poignant National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire are able to learn more about some of the everyday heroes it honours with the help of new technology. The Arboretum, situated on a 150 acre site at Alrewas, near Lichfield, has launched a new augmented reality experience called ARboretum to coincide with the start of the Easter school holidays. Pre-booked visitors to the woodland and garden site can download a free app on their smartphone (Apple or Android), allowing them to interact with a cast of colourful characters as they discover memorials connected with the emergency services and other organisations that have been involved in the Coronavirus pandemic response. A trio of artificial characters known as Blu, Kit and Sam, which were inspired by designs created by a young artist, will help visitors on their journey and bring the stories behind the Arboretum to life.
Learn more our everyday heroes at the National Memorial Arboretum. Courtesy National Memorial Arboretum
This diverse group of characters with distinct personalities facilitates a series of fun activities designed to allow families to learn about Remembrance, teamwork and reflection. At each of the eight locations around the Arboretum, an augmented reality character will appear, assist with the delivery of an activity and help people learn about some of the incredible organisations that have been working in our communities and serving our country throughout the pandemic. This innovative experience is part of a new programme of activities to celebrate Our Everyday Heroes in the emergency services and other organisations that routinely make an invaluable contribution to national life. Covid-19 has presented a crisis on a scale not seen since the Second World War and Our Everyday Heroes have risen to the challenge and served valiantly in the country's time of greatest need.
Sam is one of the trio of characters helping children on their journey. Courtesy National Memorial Arboretum
ARboretum was developed by local virtual and augmented reality experience experts at Fennec Labs, based in Stafford. It is available for download for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This new free experience is designed for visitors aged seven and over when accompanied by an adult and will be available until at least June 2021. Chris Ansell, Head of Participation and Learning at the Arboretum, said "Our new free family activity uses augmented reality technology to provide a fun, interactive experience that helps them engage with incredible stories of service and sacrifice. Our Everday Heroes in the NHS, emergency services, Armed Forces and countless other organisations have been essential to the UK's pandemic response, with many individuals putting their lives at risk in the service of others." Ben Woodford, co-founder and Lead Developer at Fennec Labs, said "Augmented Reality opens up so many possibilities for heritage sites. It's a fantastic way to engage a younger audience without having to make modifications to physical spaces."
Children can enjoy the activity until June. Courtesy National Memorial Arboretum